Create Time for Anything You Want Respect Your Calendar and Move Your Life Forward
Do you wish you could exercise more? Read more? Have more time for yourself or your loved ones? If you often say something like, “I would love to do that, but I just don’t have time,” it is likely that you are not being intentional to create time for what is most important to you. If we are to succeed in any area of life, we must plan our days carefully, and execute our plans faithfully.
I will share with you the simple steps to do that, and I will show you my personal calendar from last week.
Step One: Write down what you want to do.
If we don’t write down what is important to us to accomplish, we will spend our week attending to the urgent at the expense of the important. An example of a priority that gets pushed to the sideline for most people is exercise. In the last few months, my wife Joanne and I have wanted to start exercising more, but we have both been so busy, and we simply were not getting to the gym as much as we’d like. So we added “Gym” to the list of things we would add to our calendar—versus leaving it off of the calendar and simply trying our best to make it happen.
There is time blocked on my calendar for other activities that would otherwise not get done unless I intentionally make time for them, like my daily practices, which is the time I dedicate to reading, reflecting, spending time in the Holy Bible and praying, among other disciplines. I also set aside time for Quadrant II, which I will explain shortly.
What is your list of priorities? Talk to the important people in your life. What is theirs? What never seems to get done? Make a list of it.
Step Two: Set time aside weekly to block time.
At the end of every week, set aside time to block your calendar for the coming week. You can even do it for the next few weeks or months. I look ahead to the next four weeks, but really solidify the week ahead. Since I got married this year, I spend time doing this together with Joanne. I show her my calendar, so she is aware of how my week will look. It is a time we get to talk about priorities for both of us. This should not take more than 20-30 minutes. Make this time a discipline for yourself, and you will posititvely impact your schedule and your relationships.
Step Three: Share your calendar with key people in your life.
On Apple, you can share calendars with certain people. If there is something you do together, the task can easily be added to both calendars. I share that function with Joanne, as well as a few other close work associates.
In the photo above, you can see my previous week: my actual calendar containing the events I described above. (I only changed a few names to initials to respect other people’s privacy).
Step Four: Respect the calendar.
If someone calls me and says they would like to get together at a time that I am supposed to go to the gym, I tell them, “I am sorry. I would love to, but I have a previous commitment at that time.” This is a commitment to myself. It is important to respect the calendar. Your success hinges on your daily commitments and practices.
Having said that, it is also imperative that we don’t become controlled by our calendar. We must remember that if something comes up that is very important, on a personal or professional level, we should be flexible. Ideally by structuring our week, we are designing our lives in a way that we aren’t living in crisis mode all the time. But we must give ourselves permission to attend to things that ocasionally demand our time at a moment’s notice.
The Biggest Gap
Our success as leaders hinges on whether or not we do what we need to do. The biggest gap between us and what we aim to achieve is the knowledge-doing gap. Meaning, we usually know what we should do, but we always don’t do it.
To that point, a very important time I cannot afford to miss is my Quadrant II time. As recommended by Stephen Covey in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this is the time I address “the important, but non-urgent matters” in my life—or as I call it, my thinking time. Quadrant II is a time that I fight with myself constantly to respect. I know I should do it, and when I am consistent in spending this time, I always move forward with what is valuable to me.
What important activity do you need to do consistently? If you don’t do this already, block time today to quietly plan your week. Finally, spend time with your mother, son, or spouse, and add the time you need to garden or write.
Make this commitment to yourself today: I will be consistently intentional with my time.
Click reply to this email and send me your thoughts on this article.
For Further Reading: